Hello from the Cosmovision Center in Athens.
(7/20/11): This is Kelli and it is Wednesday morning. Today is our last full day with our Albanian friends and our hearts our beginning to feel heavy. I think Jeff mentioned that we have been hearing each of the student’s life stories which has certainly enriched our relationships with one another. We are also learning more and more of the hardships of the Albanian's, their courage and their resolve. The last two days have been just amazing and busy which is why we haven’t blogged. I have included a few photos of the Cosmovision facility, George and Fotis Romeos, the two brothers that coordinate this ministry.
George, Kelli, Jeff & Fotis
George and Jeff. George is wearing the gift from his friend, Scott Drew, Baylor's basketball coach.
Yesterday, we left Cosmovision fairly early and drove about 45 minutes to one of the 7 mountains that surround Athens. It is called Mt.Parnitha. We rock climbed on Pera Veraymbisi which means “big rock.” Jeff was a great photographer and I have included some photos of the student’s rock climbing. After dinner, Sotiris and Athoula Boiklis, friends of George and Fotis, taught us all some Greek dances. We were all busy dancing so – no photos but it was fun for all! You may be wondering when we sleep - we don’t. OK, good news - more dancing occurred tonight and I caught a few photos.
Today, the students participated in some team building activities. David led us in a great session on “Sharpening the Saw” and the students took some time to set some goals for the near future. Tonight we had a fantastic Greek dinner outside prepared lovingly by Mary (Fotis’ wife) and Nafsika. We enjoyed a breeze and beautiful sunset. Check out the pictures. I can assure you that Greek food is delicious and the setting and company made for a delightful evening. We celebrated the success of the inaugural Patjeter project, those people whose contributions made the progress possible, the Cosmovision staff, the Newells and of course, our incredible students.
Working it out - how to create a star from a circle.
One of the Cosmo Center buildings
What a spread.
The Baylor Bears with Bob and Janice
Bob read the following which sums up our sentiment as we near our final morning in Athens. Tomorrow the Baylor students will leave for their debrief and the Albanian’s will return home.
“All the hellos I have ever met had something in common. They have all been carrying something out of sight. The something that is hidden behind every hello is a goodbye. Every hello that has ever been spoken has had a good bye tucked away somewhere, deep inside, waiting for some moving day or some graduation day or some retiring or relocating or dying day, some eventual inevitable someday when the goodbye that was hidden in the hello will find its way out into the open.
That is just the unalterable, inescapable nature of life. In the entire history of the world, there has never once been a hello that wasn’t carrying a goodbye in its back pocket. And the more that first hello turns out to matter, the more that last goodbye turns out to hurt. Such is the way of life. The only way to escape having someday to say a goodbye that really hurts is to avoid every saying a hello that really matters. But never to say a hello that really matters means never to know the immense joy of loving your family or having real friends. You cannot anesthetize yourself to the eventual pain of a goodbye that hurts without also numbing yourself to the incredible joy of a hello that matters.”
(Charles E. Poole, The Tug of Home)
During the reading there was not a dry eye in the group. Relational ministry has that consequence if it’s done right. The Patjeter Project 2011 was done right. Mission accomplished, Baylor!